April 10 2005. In this notice:
A PLEA TO A LETTER WRITER
EXCUSES FOR THE LONG WAIT
APOLOGY FOR NOT ANSWERING EMAILS
NOTES TO SEVERAL PEOPLE AND GROUPS
DECISION ON THE STORY STATUS AND PUBLISHING OF THE BOOK(S)
A THANK YOU TO FANS WHO'VE WRITTEN
SOME LINKS and a note about my OTHER project
(Note: Some of you will have already read this, as I will be including it with all letters from TJ fans as I reply until I get caught up. This is so I don't have to type all this same stuff-- like my excuses, heh heh-- over and over again in replies, and this answers some of the most frequently asked questions about TJ.)
Thank you for all the letters about the story and for asking about its progress! I have three purposes for this notice. First, I wanted to put this part up front, hoping the guy, or the gay friend of his will read it and contact me. The 17th of March, I got a letter from a straight married man who has a young gay cousin whose parents found him and his boyfriend and kicked the boy out of the house. This man's best friend from childhood is gay and he asked him what he should do to help the boy. The friend directed him to read TJ and he did. When he got to the uncle and aunt's house he had a confrontation with them and a fight ensued and he left the uncle on the floor and left a copy of TJ with the aunt, hoping she would learn something about love and compassion. The boy now lives with he and his wife, but the boys mother is kind of coming around. Well, he wrote me a very heartwarming letter detailing all this and how much he as a straight man appreciated the story for giving him some understanding of his nephew's emotions and some direction in how to handle the situation. I was very moved (and humbled and honored) but before I could reply, I apparently deleted the letter along with my already read Rex Wockner gay news headlines for the day! I was so pissed off at myself when I went back to reply! So I'm hoping either the guy or his gay friend (who could possibly be on my mailing list?), or even the boy, will read this notice and RESEND the original letter and any updates you may have so I can reply.
Next item for this notice is my excuse for taking so long to get the next chapter out. I'm really sorry guys! I guess I can only call it a "writer's block" that I've been in with TJ for the last few months. I'm over that now and am making good progress on the new chapter. From around the middle of January, I haven't answered any (well, one or two) emails from TJ fans and I feel really horrible about that! And the letters piled up. I feel so guilty and so bad, because I promised I would always answer every single letter. I have a backlog of hundreds now and I WILL answer every last one of them, I promise!
The only excuse I can offer for this lack of response is that by that time (mid Jan), I knew I was really blocked and I didn't know what to say to anyone about TJ, as I wasn't writing on it at all and wasn't even wanting to think about it. The way my mind works-- or doesn't work, as the case may be-- I have a hard time writing to anyone about the story when I can't give them good news and am not even thinking about the story. But like I said above, I'm back on my game now and I will spend half my time writing-- or well, re-writing-- the new chapter and half replying to your letters until I'm caught up. And guys-- those of you who've written me these very personal and beautiful letters telling me about how the story has affected your life or mirrored it in some ways-- please believe me when I say that I really am moved by your letters and I hope you don't think I didn't care when I didn't reply. I cherish each and every one of you and I feel honored that you would open up to me and include me in your life in this way. I WILL ANSWER YOU.
And one guy who wrote in mid Jan; you said you had all your friends reading TJ and you were thinking about starting a fan club or yahoo group. Well, I started a reply and it's still in drafts, heh heh, and I will finish the letter. But if you read this first, hey, go ahead and start a yahoo group if you're still inclined to. I'll post the link to it when I post the next chapter. I just don't have time to deal with all that is required in owning or moderating a group on yahoo, so I can't do it myself, but I would definitely make it a point to stop by and chat with the members as often as I can. I would be very honored that you would do this. Seems like every other author on Nifty has a yahoo group these days, so if a fan is willing to create one, I would put the link in the intro notes of each chapter, and I would do special things for the group, like news of TJ progress, updates, discussions and whatever cool things we come up with. But like I said; I just don't have the time to do it all myself.
Third item: I have come to a decision. As you can tell by the story line and the way it's going (this long lull notwithstanding, heh heh), there are several sub-plots still to develop, and there are a couple more that haven't been hinted at that I would like to incorporate. In other words, the story has a long way to go. But, it's already longer than your average novel at this point (over 120,000 words just thru pt 20). So, I'm going to make Tutoring Jerry a TRILOGY. I'm going to end the first book after Danny and Jerry's reunion. (I'm still trying to decide where to end one and start the other, but this is the point I've settled on tentatively) The second book will pick up from there and finish out the current drama, and the third will cover other developing threads you all are aware of and those I mentioned that haven't even been hinted at.
Now this will take some major re-editing for several reasons. The primary one is that I've grown in my writing competence since those first few chapters (I like to think, anyway, heh heh), and I will make it so that the first book will feel complete in and of itself. I wouldn't want it to seem incomplete to a new reader-- once it's published-- who hasn't read the rest on the net already, know what I mean? There will also be a couple of nice additives to the first book.
Now you may wonder how this will affect my contract with StarBooks Press? Well, they came into the picture around the time of the reunion scene, so they already like the story. I just hope I can sell them on a trilogy, lol. I haven't contacted them about this yet, and won't until I have the edits ready to offer. They sent me the contract back then, but we didn't formalize anything and I didn't sign it at that point. The marketing director of the company basically told me to go ahead and finish the story and then we would hammer out all the details. If they don't like the idea, I will find another publisher.
Yet another couple of options/considerations are: A fan of the story has been quietly and casually shopping it around (not knocking on doors, in other words. He's in the industry and presents it to people he knows, when he gets the chance to) to people in the cable TV industry for possible development as a series. Two stumbling blocks prevent it in its present state from being picked up for that: One, Danny is under 18 for a large part of it, and two, the sex is very explicit. As major a part as his age plays in the story, I am willing to re-write that aspect. AND, I am willing to put great effort into re-writing the sex scenes so that they still convey the emotions and electricity of those intense scenes while being non-explicit with the mechanics of sex, dwelling more in the emotional sphere (picture the level of sex that Queer As Folk has, but with the emotional aspects of TJ). With those two factors redone, I could maybe get it picked up by a more major publishing house, AND/OR maybe a Showtime or HBO type series out of it---- hey, I can dream!!!! As most of you have said in your letters, it's the STORY that impacts you. The sex is a nice bonus, simply because we don't often get good stories that have well done and explicit sex that is part of the story and not just gratuitous. And believe me, I would try my hardest to make the sex scenes still have the emotional impact they currently have.
So here's what I'm going to do: I'm going to finish this new chapter and the next, and maybe the next chapter after it as well. Then I will sit down and do the editing for the first book--- both versions, with explicit sex and without, both age corrected. I will then shop them around. StarBooks Press is one of the biggest and most stable publishers of "erotica" in the world, but they still don't have near the "mainstream" market that publishing houses like Allyson and others who publish gay works do. Allyson and the others won't touch a story this explicit (at least I get that impression) and they absolutely won't if any characters are under age when they have sex. So with the tamer, age-corrected version, I may be able to get a bigger publishing house and with it, a bigger audience. I absolutely will NOT go to POD publishers (Print On Demand) with no support, structure or marketing. StarBooks is not a POD. They have a worldwide mailing list and are on shelves in gay bookstores everywhere, so if I have to stay with them, at least I'm virtually guaranteed an easy ten thousand sales, conservatively. With Allyson or another large house, the figure goes much higher with their backing and promotion. I assume Allyson and the others have the same offer to authors that StarBooks has, where they will front me however many copies I want to sell autographed online as I've promised many of you. And I get a much higher percentage of each sale from that method (with StarBooks), even though I'm selling it for the same cover price.
So that's my update notice. I hope y'all will understand and forgive my lapse for the last few months. I've gotten excited about the story again and am happy with the nearly completed first draft of the new chapter. It of course, will still have to go to my editors and back to me for a final edit. And believe me, some of your letters have spurred me on! If the story means that much to you guys, how can I not get back into it?
I love you all very much. I'm not just saying that in a general way. Your letters mean SO much to me! I've heard from virtually all corners of the earth, and even from a soldier in Iraq! Guys and gals, I wish I could personally hug and kiss each and every one of you! When this gets published, I hope to do some signing tours and meet at least some of you in person. Writing this story has affected my life in many profound ways, and your letters have done so as well. Seriously, some of your letters really affect me emotionally. I may write a book about it someday, heh heh. Someone suggested I put some of the awesome letters I get about TJ on my website. Well, I just don't know. I can admit that, as an ego boost, I would kinda like people to see the powerful personal letters and the praise, but then, I figure some people would think I was making some of them up or something, since I wouldn't include the header with their email address or actual name or anything. If I do decide to do that, I would of course ask the writer of each letter I included for permission. I could only post a small number of them, as most of them are pretty long. Anyway, I just want to say how much your letters enrich my life. Food for my soul is what they are. Please keep them coming--- I WILL answer you.
I wish you all peace, love and happiness. May you find your Danny or Jerry or Tyson or Dave, if you haven't already.
MY EMAIL: firstname.lastname@example.org
MY WEBSITE: www.geocities.com/desertmac2000/
IF THESE LINKS ARE NOT ACTIVE, JUST COPY AND PASTE THEM INTO YOUR SEARCH ENGINE. You can also Google: desertmac, desertmac2000 and Superdrewby. But... If you google either version of my name, you'll also likely come across what I have been writing during this time while I was blocked on TJ. So I guess I'd better come clean about my other project on Nifty. Some of you have seen it and written me about it. I didn't announce it to my TJ fans for one simple reason: I seriously doubt most of you would like this story at all, and many of you would be rather horrified of it, heh heh. The story is called Tercet. It's in the Authoritarian section on Nifty and also archived at ALPHAMALE_ASSOCIATION yahoo group. This story is not for the squeamish or faint of heart, to say the least... Definitely not for the romantically inclined. It's a story about domination and submission, mentally and physically, with forced sex, mild physical abuse and heavy mental domination. So, I strongly do not recommend most TJ fans to it at all. It just won't be your cup of tea, to put it mildly, heh heh. Some of you may wonder how someone who writes a tender love story like TJ could write a story like Tercet... Well, I have many personalities within me and the Tercet side is just another one of them. My stories will vary widely in theme and content. Again, if you don't already generally enjoy reading stories in the Authoritarian section of Nifty, I seriously don't recommend you even start this story just because I wrote it----or am writing it. It has 5 chapters so far, the 5th posted recently. For now, though, I am concentrating exclusively on TJ again, and am actually happy with the progress I've made on it in this last week, so it shouldn't be all that long for posting.